Investment banking associates tend to be hired after business school, after they have completed summer associate MBA internships.
Alternatively, some associates are internally promoted analysts that decided to remain at the firm, rather than exiting to the buy-side – or lateral hires from other investment banks.
The investment banking associate salary comprises two parts:
- Base Salary: For a first-year investment banking associate in New York City, the base salary is $150,000.
- Bonus: Associates will receive a year-end bonus in the range of $90,000 to $120,000. But the absolute top performers can get a bonus as high as $130,000.
The all-in comp for most 1st year associates thus comes to around $240,000 to $270,000.
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For competitive reasons, base salaries are fairly standard during all 3 associate years at most investment banks:
- Year 1: $150k
- Year 2: $175k
- Year 3: $200k
Meanwhile, bonus disparity based on associate performance grows over time.
The all-in comp is usually a bit lower at large middle-market investment banks but can get considerably lower at small regional firms outside of New York. Elite boutiques generally pay in line or better than bulge brackets.
The table below summarizes the average compensation for stub year, 1st year, 2nd year, and 3rd-year associates.
Investment Banking Associate Salary in New York
|Position||Base Salary||Bonus||All-In Comp|
|1st Year Associate||
||$240,000 to $270,000|
|2nd Year Associate||
||$275,000 to $390,000|
|3rd Year Associate||
||$320,000 to $450,000|
Note that associates usually arrive during the summer after completing business school.
Instead of paying the bonus 12 months after the typical start date, banks pay associates (and analysts) their bonus for just their first 5 months (“stub bonus”) to reset them to a December 31 calendar year-end.
Bonuses for the prior year are usually communicated in January and February (i.e. “bonus season”).
Investment Banking Associate Salary in London and Europe
As is the case in the United States, investment banking associate base salaries in London/Europe do not vary too much from firm to firm.
- Stub-Year: £80k
- Year 1: £95k
- Year 2: £105k
- Year 3: £120k
As you can see from the table below, some bonus disparity exists across firms as well as based on associate performance. All-in comp is usually a bit lower at large middle-market investment banks, and slightly higher or in line to bulge brackets at Elite boutiques.